San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced plans to convert underutilized downtown office buildings for other uses and is encouraging anyone planning a conversion to submit information about the project.
The city wants to determine projects that can be sped up and will support the conversions as part of the vision for downtown’s future. Such “adaptive reuse” projects are part of the mayor’s Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future — a plan with nine strategies and nearly 50 initiatives to address the city’s new economic landscape following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are implementing strategic policies to strengthen San Francisco’s economic vibrancy and support our downtown, which is more important now than ever before,” Breed said in a news release Thursday about the initiative.
Legislation by Breed and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin was passed earlier this month to simplify the approval process and requirements for converting existing commercial buildings into housing.
The initiative announced Thursday, in addition to the recently passed legislation, will enable the city to understand the needs of property owners, architects and developers, to assist adaptive reuse projects, the mayor’s statement said.
The city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the San Francisco Planning Department are asking any city stakeholders considering a conversion project to give information on existing and future development projects in downtown through a Request for Interest (RFI) that will give project sponsors a chance to talk about any financial or regulatory problems they might be having with their projects.
The city is looking for projects that include conversion of non-residential space to new uses, including proposals that:
• Convert office space to housing;
• Reopen vacant ground floor spaces with retail, entertainment, and cultural uses;
• Utilize underused upper floors;
• Support education, art, research, and manufacturing.
The city will hold an online information session regarding the RFI on July 19, and people interested in a conversion project can submit responses to the RFI via email by Aug. 4.
“I am optimistic about the opportunities for downtown’s ability to adapt to our challenges,” Peskin said. “Our historic downtown buildings, in particular, provide a unique opportunity for adaptive reuse.”